Inspired by: When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare. I wanted to make a lap quilt for a friend who is going through chemo at the moment and having a rough time. I was reading Katherine’s Top Ten Tuesday blog post from her site I Wish I Lived in a Library and she mentioned How to Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks. That got the brain cells ticking and the process went something like this:
Scots = When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare. The main character wears a kilt. A kilt is a piece of fabric that looks like it has been made in strips. Strips of fabric form a strip quilt. Aha!! As for the name, underneath a kilt, men often wear nothing. Wearing no clothes = being nude. I used a jelly roll to make the quilt and rather than rolling through the fields, it seemed more seemly (snicker) to go for a run.
So many thanks to the lovely Katherine who inspired a quilt design without even knowing it.
Name: Nudie Run Through Lilac Fields Quilt.
Technique: Strip piecing
Dimensions: 63 inches x 52 inches (this is approximately 160 cm x 134 cm)
You will need:
– 1 x Fresh Lilac jelly roll by Maywood Studio (this gives you 40 strips that are 2 1/2 inches wide in a variety of fabrics)
– 3 yards backing fabric (I used a purple batik)
– 3 yards batting (I used a 50% cotton / 50% bamboo blend)
– 1/2 yard binding fabric (I used the same purple batik as I did for the backing)
– dark purple thread (to ensure your stitches can be seen)
– iron & ironing board
– rotary cutter & board
– basting spray or large safety pins
– sewing machine
– lint roller
– your choice of chocolate and caffeine
Total time: 12 hrs (including snack breaks and feeding/changing/cuddling/playing with my baby)
Notes: This is a modified jelly roll race quilt. I first saw the pattern on the Missouri Quilt Company’s Jelly Roll Race 2 YouTube video but there are lots of other guides out there.
If you want to make this bigger, I suggest you check out Wee Folk Art’s guide which has the maths you need to work out exactly how much fabric you need.
I decided to do a traditional strip quilt rather than inserting an extra square. If you do want to use the square, I suggest that you use your backing fabric and just cut off a 2 1/2 inch row and then subcut that row into 2 1/2 inch squares. If you buy the full 3 yards you have plenty of wriggle room. Alternately, you could dedicate one of the fabrics included in the jelly roll to acting as the square.
I am going to focus on the things I wished I had known before I started this project. Some of these may be self-evident for those who know what they are doing but I hadn’t quilted for nearly five years so was really rusty.
1. Gaze at your lovely jelly roll but resist the urge to open it up just yet. Instead, use your lint roller and run it over the top and bottom of the roll to get rid of the fuzzy bits. I didn’t and the stuff got on my clothes, the floor, in my hair and even in between my baby’s fingers. Ugh.
2. Unroll your jelly roll and iron the bit where the fabric was folded in half. I didn’t and had to work hard when I was sewing to ensure that the fabric didn’t bunch slightly and then even harder when I was pressing my seams. You don’t have to bother ironing anything else until your quilt top is done because it has been rolled rather than folded.
3. Load up a few bobbins with your thread so you don’t have to stop in the middle of your project.
4. Now go and have some chocolate and/or caffeine. You’ve earned it and you need to build up your strength for what is to come 🙂
Quilt top instructions
5. Take your first piece of fabric and chop off about 18 inches. If you don’t do this then your lovely seams are going to be at the edges of your quilt rather than in the centre which will have the most impact.
6. You are going to sew the short ends of all of your strips to each other in order to make one long strip. Don’t worry too much about the order in which you sew them as they will get mixed up along the way and give the quilt a really scrappy look. I asked my father to pick random fabrics as I was afraid I would try to micromanage the overall look. The only thing I did do was ensure that the same fabric didn’t appear twice in a row.
The easiest way to do this is chain piece. Put the right sides of fabric A and fabric B together and sew a 1/4 inch seam across the short end. Then without cutting the thread, add the other end of fabric B and one end of fabric C with their right sides together. Continue until you have finished adding all of your strips. Now you can cut the thread at the end and snip all of the loose bits of thread that connect your strips. This will give you one giant long strip.
The fabric should come off the back of your sewing machine in soft waves.
There is no real need to iron your seams so my advice is to keep the fabric in the loose wave so that it is easy to feed the next row through the machine. I didn’t and chose to stuff everything into a bag to keep my workspace tidy. I then spent an inordinate amount of time trying to pull the two ends out and untangling everything.
7. Pick up the start of your first fabric (A) and end of your last fabric (Z). Place them right sides together and sew a 1/4 inch seam the length of your fabric. You are taking your 1 strip wide quilt and turning it into a 2 strip wide quilt which is obviously half the length.
The advantage of doing it this way is that you don’t have to worry about one length being longer than the other as when you get to the end, you simply chop the loop in half. This will allow you to open up your two strip wide quilt properly. If you are near the end of the strip and realise that it has been tangled up, cut the loop as best you can. It doesn’t matter if you are a little out as you will be able to trim it later when you finish the quilt top.
I chose to have my seams facing one way rather than open. This meant that as I got closer to a seam, I very gently pulled it away from my 1/4 inch foot to ensure that I didn’t get unsightly bunching.
8. Your 2 strip wide quilt now needs to be turned into a 4 strip wide quilt and in doing so, you will halve the length of your strips. So take place the two short ends of the quilt together and sew a 1/4 inch seam down the long length of the fabric. When you get near the end of the fabric, cut the loop in half so the quilt can be opened up fully.
Your quilt will look quite different depending on what long side you choose to sew on. You can see below that I chose to join the two brown & white pieces of fabric together rather than the ones with green leaves. This left me with a small leaf piece all on its lonesome. It didn’t make a huge difference overall and I liked the random look.
9. Your 4 strip wide quilt now needs to be halved and turned into an 8 strip wide quilt. Simple right? Then the 8 strip wide quilt needs to become a 16 strip wide quilt. Finally the 16 strip wide quilt becomes 32 strips wide.
As you keep halving the length, it takes half the time to sew as the previous one did and you should get the last few seams done really quickly. As the quilt gets wider, you will need to take more care when cutting the loop that is left at the end.
10. You have finished piecing your quilt top. Yay!! Open up your quilt top and see what you have created.
11. Now it is time to iron all of your seams flat. I ironed on the front of the quilt top to avoid extra creases and ensure all my strip widths were identical. I then went back to the back and tidied up any that weren’t quite flat.
Finishing it off
If you are familiar with quilting then the rest is basically ‘blah, blah, you’re awesome, blah, blah’.
If you don’t know how to bind, then I suggest you watch the Missouri Star Company’s Ultimate Quilt Binding Guide tutorial on YouTube simply because watching a video makes it easier to understand.
Here is how I finished it off:
– joined two smaller sections of my backing fabric to one bigger piece to make the back. I didn’t want extra pressure on the seam or to have to have the back seam out of alignment with the front.
– ironed my wadding as it was a little creased and I wanted it to sit straight.
– rolled two opposite sides of the quilt sandwich towards the centre and then quilted outwards so I only had to shove half of the quilt through the throat of the machine.
– used a decorative blanket stitch on my machine to keep the quilt looking rustic and stitched in the ditch. If you stitch in the ditch like me, don’t forget to do the little cross pieces. My cat Portia decided to “help” me but if you cast your eyes around her rather ample frame, you can see the stitching.
– used the excess bits of backing fabric I cut off after quilting for my binding along with one extra piece. This meant I had some left over fabric to add to my stash.
– stitched my binding to the back of my quilt first with a 1/4 inch seam and then brought the rest of the binding around to the front because I wanted to machine quilt the whole thing. I used the same blanket stitch to secure the binding to the front with the 1/4 inch seam already sewn acting as a guide.